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Construction firms sentenced over Liverpool crane collapse

10-05-2012

The collapsed crane at the Kings Dock Mill siteTwo construction firms have been sentenced after a crane collapsed onto a city centre apartment block in Liverpool, resulting in the crane driver being paralysed from the waist down.

The 79-metre-high tower crane was being used as part of a multi-million pound project to build a new eight-storey hotel and seven apartment blocks at Kings Dock Mill on Tabley Street when it overturned on 6 July 2009.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the site's principal contractor, Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd, and structural engineering company Bingham Davis Ltd following an investigation into the incident.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the crane fell onto a partially constructed apartment block, across a road and came to rest on the Chandlers Wharf apartments. Eight counterweights on the crane, weighing a total of 56 tonnes, broke free and crashed through the roof and six floors of the building.

Crane driver Iain Gillham, 55, from Woolton, fell from his cab onto the roof of the apartments and through the hole created by the counterweights.

The HSE investigation into the incident found that the crane's foundation could not cope with the forces generated by the crane.

During the construction of the foundation, both Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd. and Bingham Davis Ltd. agreed to cut away essential steel reinforcement bars from the four concrete foundation piles, so that the crane's feet could sit on top on them.

Both companies were found guilty of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court by failing to ensure the safety of workers or residents.

Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd., of Church Street in Heage, Derbyshire, was fined £280,000. A decision on prosecution costs will be made separately.

Bingham Davis Ltd., formerly of Temple Street in Liverpool, has ceased trading since the crane collapse after going into voluntary liquidation. The company was fined a nominal £1,000.

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